SBD/September 10, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • NHL Undertakes Significant Organizational Restructuring

    The NHL made changes to its organizational structure, which are effective immediately. NHL Exec VP/Media Strategies & Distribution DAVID PROPER will add to his responsibilities as Exec VP/Business Affairs, coordinating business affairs across all media and business departmental lines. Proper will report to COO JOHN COLLINS, and on legal issues to Exec VP & General Counsel DAVID ZIMMERMAN. Senior VP SUSAN COHIG will assume legal responsibilities and will report to Proper in the new business affairs department.  She will also continue to report to Exec VP/Marketing BRIAN JENNINGS on club marketing responsibilities. Senior VP STEVE HATZE PETROS will continue to be responsible for scheduling and National Broadcast Business affairs. He and his ratings and research team will now report to Proper. 

    MARKETING EFFORT: Exec VP BRIAN JENNINGS will lead a more centralized marketing department and will assume the title of CMO. Jennings will add to his existing marketing responsibilities across the NHL brand, creative services, cause marketing and partnership marketing by adding brand/promotional responsibilities for the NHL Network, and NHL digital products to his team. VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing JOE LORESKI and Product Promotions Dir LINDSAY GRANT will report to Jennings. Commerce & Development Dir JOSLIN WARREN and the SHOP/Auctions team will join Jennings’ consumer products group.

    SALES & MARKETING: Senior VP/Corporate Sales & Marketing KEITH WACHTEL is being promoted to Exec VP/Global Partnerships, with responsibility for corporate sponsorship, and digital and network ad sales efforts. VP/Integrated Sales & Marketing DAVID LEHANSKI is being promoted to Senior VP and will lead U.S. sales efforts. VP/Partnership Marketing KYLE MCMANN is being promoted to Group VP and will lead Canadian corporate sales efforts. Canadian Online Sales Dir KAREN GORDON is promoted to VP and will have oversight of all North American digital sales, including the digital sales relationship with NBC Sports. Senior Dir of Int’l Licensing & Special Projects LYNN WHITE will now report to Wachtel on development of int’l revenue and sales opportunities.

    EVENTS: Senior VP/Events & Entertainment DON RENZULLI is being promoted to Exec VP/Events. VP/Events DEAN MATSUZAKI is being promoted to Senior VP/Events. Former NFL exec JIM STEEG will be added to this group on a project basis with responsibility for advance planning of the outdoor games at Dodger Stadium and Soldier Field. Broadcast Relations Dir EMILY NASITS will join Renzulli’s group as VP.

    : Senior VP/Business Development & Strategic Planning STEPHEN MCARDLE is being promoted to Exec VP/Digital Media and Strategic Planning. VP/Digital Design JOHN PACINO will report to McArdle and will add oversight of the NHL’s social media efforts to his responsibilities. Also promoted are Senior Dir of Direct & Digital Marketing NILI DOFT to VP/Direct & Digital Marketing and Strategic Planning Manager JAROD WERE to Direct & Digital Marketing Dir.

    MEDIA: GARY MEAGHER is being promoted to Exec VP/PR & Media. Also promoted are FRANK BROWN to Group VP/Content Integration, JAMEY HORAN to Group VP, JOHN DELLAPINA to Group VP/Communications. NHL Network VP/Programming BOB CHESTERMAN also is being promoted to Senior VP/Programming & Production, and will report to Collins with responsibility for all video programming and production for the NHL Network, and NHL Studios. Chesterman also will assume operational oversight of content footage licensing and image/photography efforts. Senior Coordinating Producer JOE WHELAN and NHL Network Exec Producer MARK PREISLER will report to Chesterman. Programming Manager ERIC EISENBERG is being promoted to Programming & Operations Dir and VP/Broadcasting IVAN GOTTESFELD to Senior VP/Broadcasting and will report to Collins.

    ANALYTICS: VP SCOTT JABLONSKI is being promoted to VP/Club Business & Analytics, reporting to Senior Exec VP & CFO CRAIG HARNETT and Collins. Jablonski will lead an enhanced department with a focus on deeper integration with club business leaders and CFOs. He will continue to report to Exec VP/Finance JOSEPH DESOUSA on club revenue sharing and CBA financial issues.

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  • U.S. Speedskating Names Ted Morris Exec Dir In Effort To Increase Sponsorship Sales

    U.S. Speedskating has named former U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association marketer TED MORRIS its new Exec Dir. Morris replaces MARK GREENWALD, who stepped down in June. Morris worked at USSA for eight years and helped the organization generate more sponsorship revenue than any other NGB. He most recently worked at Van Wagner Sports, where he assisted USSA and U.S. Speedskating with sponsorship sales. U.S. Speedskating President MIKE PLANT in an e-mail wrote, “Ted brings a wealth of experience in Revenue generation, Olympic and NGB organizational experience and a direct knowledge of how both of those are required to enhance elite level success on the world stage and the development pipeline.” Morris takes over an organization that has been mired in scandal over the last year, following reports of coaching abuse. Plant, a former Olympic speedskater and Braves Exec VP, was named interim President in March and tasked with turning around the organization.

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  • IMG Sports & Entertainment President George Pyne To Be Honored By NFF

    IMG Sports & Entertainment President GEORGE PYNE, the first inductee into the National Football Foundation’s Leadership HOF, will be honored tonight by the NFF at an event at the Waldorf Astoria in N.Y. The NFF says it will recognize Pyne’s many contributions to the sports business world while also highlighting the role football played in his life. Pyne played collegiately at Brown, where he was named all-Ivy League and served as the team’s captain. Before joining IMG in '06, Pyne worked at NASCAR, where he was COO. He has been named to SportsBusiness Journal's "Forty Under 40" list three times and has been named one of Ad Age's "Top 100 Marketers." Tonight's event will be carried live on ESPN3.

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  • Executive Transactions

    NBCUniversal announced that Int'l Chair JEFF SHELL, who has recently "been focused on the media conglomerate's international businesses, will take over day-to-day operations at Universal Studios." Shell, before joining Comcast/NBCU, "logged time at News Corporation, where he helped oversee Fox Sports" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/10). Shell ran Fox' "cluster of regional cablers -- a demanding job that involves wrangling distribution deals with cable and satellite operators and rights pacts with local teams." He segued to Comcast in early '05 "as programming prexy to oversee Comcast-owned channels," including Golf Channel and Comcast's RSNs (, 9/9). Shell had recently been mentioned as a candidate for DreamWorks Animation's soon-to-be-available President & CFO position (THE DAILY).

    HANGING A NEW SHINGLE: Law firm Kelley Drye & Warren named Dow Lohnes partner ADISA BAKARI to chair the firm's newly formed Sports Entertainment Group. Bakari started Dow Lohnes' sports and entertainment division nearly 15 years ago. In addition, his partner JEFFERY WHITNEY joins the firm as Vice Chair of the group (THE DAILY).

    EXECS: MLS expansion club NYC FC formally named former Rutgers Univ. AD TIM PERNETTI Chief Business Officer, reporting directly to CEO FERRAN SORIANO (NYC FC)....Sources said that Buccaneers CMO JASON DIAL "has resigned" and is headed to "a new leadership position for an as of yet unnamed sports and entertainment company" (, 9/9)....The Clippers promoted Dir of Communications SETH BURTON to VP/Communications, replacing JOE SAFETY, who "resigned in June after 20 years with the organization." The Clippers also promoted DENNIS ROGERS to Dir of Communications & Digital Media and named TA'NISHA COOPER and STEVEN ESPARZA Assistant Dirs of Communications, AUBREY FRECKMAN Communications Assistant and ERIC PATTEN Digital Media Manager & Communications Coordinator (, 9/9)....The WNBA Dream named ALTON BYRD Chief Revenue Officer (Dream)....The Univ. of Tennessee promoted JIMMY STANTON to Senior Associate AD/Communications (UT)....Northeastern Univ. named Univ. of Minnesota Senior Associate AD REGINA SULLIVAN Exec Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator. Sullivan replaces AMANDA BRAUN, who left to become Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee AD (NU)....The Univ. of Michigan named Pistons Exec VP PETE SKORICH to the newly-created position of Senior Associate AD/Communications, Broadcast, Multimedia & Creative Services (UM)....UMass-Boston named Concordia Univ. Assistant AD and Senior Woman Administrator TRACEY HATHAWAY Compliance Officer and Assistant Academic Adviser (UMass)....Marketing & sales exec STEVE HAGEN has launched sports marketing firm Legacy Health & Tennis (Legacy).

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  • Names In The News

    Jamie McCourt was ruled to have no legal basis to profit from the Dodgers sale

    L.A. Superior Court Judge SCOTT GORDON yesterday ruled that JAMIE MCCOURT has "no legal basis to force" ex-husband FRANK MCCOURT to "share his record profit from the sale of the Dodgers." Gordon "repeatedly dismissed Jamie McCourt's claim that she was unaware of the potential values of the Dodgers and of a regional sports network as 'not credible.'" Jamie McCourt's attorney BERT FIELDS said that she "plans to appeal" (, 9/9).

    LOVE & MARRIAGE: Sources said that Heat F LEBRON JAMES is "getting married this weekend in a three-day affair in San Diego." Speculation is that the wedding will "be held at either the Grand Del Mar or Hotel Del Coronado" (N.Y. POST, 9/10)....Former USTA CEO ARLEN KANTARIAN's son BRIAN was married Saturday to KATHRYN GOODENOUGH (, 9/8).

    LABOR LAWS: In L.A., Marc Lifsher reports months of "heavy lobbying" by the NFL and other pro sports team owners "paid off when lawmakers gave final passage to a bill to limit most workers' compensation claims by out-of-state professional athletes." The bill cleared the California Assembly "on a 66-3 vote and was sent to Gov. JERRY BROWN," who is expected to "sign the bill into law." Assembly member HENRY PEREA's proposal, which was opposed by the NFLPA and the AFL-CIO, would "close a provision in California law that allowed players from out of state to file workers' compensation claims for so-called cumulative trauma, including head injuries that manifested themselves years after their careers had ended" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10).

    : Former NFLer BO JACKSON and Pro Football HOFer JERRY RICE will participate in today's Finish Line Youth Foundation golf outing at the Bridgewater Club in Carmel, Ind., to "raise funds for qualified, not-for-profit organizations that provide community-based access to athletics for children under the age of 18" (, 9/9)....The Islanders yesterday held a benefit golf outing for the team's children's foundation at Bethpage State Park (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/10)....Texans Owner BOB MCNAIR and QBs MATT SCHAUB, TJ YATES and LB BRIAN CUSHING tomorrow night will attend the kickoff party for the upcoming Nov. 15 Friday Night Lights event to benefit DePelchin Children's Center (, 9/9)....Major League Lacrosse in conjunction with the New Balance Foundation delivered a $25,000 check to JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research (MLL).

    NAMES: Canucks co-Owner & Chair FRANCESCO AQUILINI yesterday settled his divorce with estranged wife TALIAH "as the parties prepared to begin court proceedings." The agreement was confirmed "less than an hour before court opened" (CP, 9/9)....Hedge fund manager CHRIS HANSEN and two political consultants "have agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for failing to disclose a campaign contribution to a group seeking to block a new Sacramento sports arena." Hansen was accused of "making an anonymous $100,000 donation in June to a signature-gathering effort to require a citywide vote on public subsidies for sports facilities" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/10)....Capitals LW ALEX OVECHKIN has been "invited to be the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch after it is lit in Olympia, Greece, on Sept. 29 and as long as travel arrangements can be made that minimize his absence from the Capitals the team will not prevent him from participating" (, 9/9)....The green jacket owned by late Golf HOFer HORTON SMITH, the first Masters winner, was "sold at auction Saturday for nearly $700,000" (, 9/9)....Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and his girlfriend, RICKI LANDER, attended the Tommy Hilfiger women's fashion show yesterday in N.Y. (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10)....QUEEN SOFIA of Spain, actor SEAN CONNERY and DAVID BECKHAM were among those in attendance at yesterday's U.S. Open men's final at Arthur Ashe Stadium (WASHINGTON POST, 9/10).

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